Prosfora: D. Federinko
Altar Servers: Victor Weis, Greg Coons
Greeter(s): D. Helferich, M. Jobst
Epistle: E. Caldwell
Donut Sponsor(s): Need sponsor
Chapel Vacuum: S. Osman
Candle care: R. Helferich
Counters: J. Weise, Michaela Topalov
9:00am Hours: D. Beleny
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
Reception of Daniel & Elizabeth Callahan into the Orthodox Faith
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 3
11:45am Youth group/Church School
Hymns & Readings:
Tone 4 Troparion (Resurrection)
When the women disciples of the Lord learned from the angel the joyous message of the Resurrection; they cast away the ancestral curse and elatedly told the apostles: Death is overthrown; Christ God is risen, granting the world great mercy!
Through faith You justified the Forefathers, betrothing through them the Church of the gentiles.
These saints exult in glory, for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: She who bore You without seed. So by their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us!
You did not worship the graven image, O thrice-blessed ones, but armed with the immaterial Essence of God, you were glorified in a trial by fire. From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying: Hasten, O compassionate One! Speedily come to our aid, for You are merciful and able to do as You will.
Tone 4 Kontakion (Resurrection)
My Savior and Redeemer as God rose from the tomb and delivered the earthborn from their chains. He has shattered the gates of hell, and as Master, he has risen on the third day!
Tone 4 Prokeimenon (Forefathers)
Blessed are You, O Lord God of our Fathers, and praised and glorified is Your Name forever!
Epistle: Colossians 3:4-11
When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Gospel: Luke 14:16-24
Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. ’For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”
Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise Him in the highest! Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous; praise befits the just! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
For Further Reading:
Making Excuses to God
The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come (vv. 18-20).
All three rather contemptuously disregard the generosity of the host, who cares for them and values their friendship. Their responses might be paraphrased, “Oh, I had intended to go, but something more important to me has come up.” The three excuses are meant to typify human concerns and priorities that, important as they may be in daily life, are nothing in relation to God’s love and care. The invitation and the response illustrate man’s neglect of what is of infinitely greater value to him - salvation and life eternal with God - than his earthly, perishable concerns. The Jews had been prepared for this final invitation by the events of their own history and by God’s speaking to them through the prophets, but since it did not offer improvement in their material concerns, they rejected it. (Archbishop Dimitri, The Parables, p. 128)
Charity: Building Your Home in Heaven
Furthermore, if now we expend boundless wealth in order to possess well-lighted and airy houses, building them with painful toil, reflect how we ought to spend our very bodies in building shining mansions for ourselves in heaven where that ineffable light is. Here, indeed, there are strifes and contentions about boundaries and walls, while there, there will be nothing of this: no envy, no malice, and no one will contend with us about the setting of boundaries. Moreover, we must leave behind completely this home here, while that other will remain with us forever. Then, too, this one must deteriorate in course of time, and must be the prey of countless destructive agencies, while that one must remain forever incorrupt. Besides, the poor man cannot build this one here, while it is possible to build that one for two oboli, as that well-known widow did.
Therefore, I seethe with indignation because, when so many blessings lie in wait for us, we are lazy, we make little account of them, and make every effort to have splendid homes in this world. On the other hand, we are not concerned, we take no thought as to how we may possess even a little abode in heaven. (St. John Chrysostom, The Fathers of the Church: St. John Chrysostom Homilies on St. John Vol 2, pp. 94-95)
The Forefathers of Christ
It sounds like a paradox that we should read from the Old Testament in order to discover in it the Face of Christ, and in a sense it is. But paradox is of the essence of the Christian mystery: the Increate, breaking into the creative act; the Infinite, giving number and measure to a finite world; the Timeless, yielding to the rhythm of days; the Divine, entering the family of men. The Book of Revelation teaches us that Christ shall be the Last. This demands that we recognize him as the First, for He is the eternal Word by whom all things were made "in the beginning." And it is no mere coincidence that these three words are read in the first verse of Genesis, and in the first verse of the Gospel according to St. John. We reckon by years before Christ, B.C., and years of the Lord, A.D.; the years under the Law, and the years of grace; the Old Testament, and the New Testament. But the Incarnation is more than a serviceable time-divider. The light of the star which rose over Bethlehem is the same light that did shine through darkness on the first day of creation, unto the first man on earth, the fathers of the Old Law and the Gentiles, "every man coming into the world." We have no right to curtail the total perspective of God's revelation. We have been taught to behold the image of Christ in the luminous pages of the Gospel, but we are not therefore to neglect or to despise the rays which have guided the Forefathers and sustained their hope. It is always His Face we should recognize, glowing amidst the shadows of the remotest past, and His voice we should hear in the reading of the sacred page, in Moses or in the prophets, as well as, in the Gospels or in the apostolic writings.
...and only under the intimate motion of the Spirit who first inspired Scripture, can we expect to discern the Face of our Christ shining amidst the shadows of the past, as it has secretly shone for the Forefathers. (Georges A. Barrois, The Face of Christ in the Old Testament, pp. 13-14, 44)
The Incarnation: So We Can See Christ
For humility is the raiment of the Godhead. The Word Who became man clothed Himself in it, and therewith He spoke to us in our body. Every man who has been clothed with it has truly been made like unto Him Who came down from His own exaltedness, and hid the splendor of His majesty, and concealed His glory with humility, lest creation should be utterly consumed by the contemplation of Him. Creation could not look upon Him unless He took a part of it to Himself, and thus conversed with it, and neither could it hear the words of His mouth face to face.
The splendour of His glory appeared on Mount Sinai; and the mountain smoked and quaked in fear of the revelation that was in it, so that even the beasts that approached the lower parts of it died. The sons of Israel made ready and prepared themselves, keeping themselves chaste for three days according to the command of Moses that they might be made worthy of hearing the voice of God, and of vision of His revelation. And when the time was come, they could not receive the vision of His light and the fierceness of the voice of His thunders. But now, when He has poured out His grace upon the world through His own coming, He has descended not in an earthquake, not in a fire, not in a terrible and mighty sound, but ‘as the rain upon a fleece, and rain-drops that fall upon the earth’ softly, and He was seen conversing with us after another fashion. This came to pass when, as though in a treasury, He concealed His majesty with the veil of His flesh, and mong us spoke with us in that [body] which His own bidding wrought for Him out of the womb of the Virgin, even Mary the Theotokos. All this He did so that on beholding Him Who was of our race conversing with us, we should not be smitten with terror by the vision of Him.
Wherefore every man has put on Christ when he is clothed with the raiment wherein the Creator was seen through the body that He put on. (St. Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies of Isaac the Syrian, pp. 381-382)
Fasting before Christmas
Fasting is acceptable to God when abstention from food is accompanied by refraining from sins, from envy, from hatred, from calumny, from vainglory, from wordiness, from other evils. He who is fasting the true fast that is agreeable to God ought to shun all these things with all his strength and zeal, and remain impregnable and unshakeable against all the attacks of the Evil one that are planned from that quarter. (St Photius, The Homilies of Photius Patriarch of Constantinople, p. 227)
Recent Posts on Fr Ted’s Blog
Wednesday Adult Discussion Group
Our Wednesday morning discussion continues Wednesday, December 19 at 11am at which time we will begin discussing a new book, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science by Scot McKnight and Dennis R. Venema. The book is available for purchase online and is available as an ebook. We will discuss chapters 1-4 on December 5. You are welcome to join the discussion whether or not you have read the book. If you like to reflect on how the science of genetics is related to the story of Adam and Eve, join our discussion.
Angel Giving Tree
The church school is once again sponsoring the Angel Tree to help four St. Paul families this holiday season. Presents should be returned to the church TODAY! Please remember to attach your angel to the outside of the wrapped package. Direct all questions to Kerrie Wiese.
Church School Schedule & Nativity Play
The Nativity Play will occur immediately following services on Sunday, December 23. Church school will not meet on December 23 or December 30. All classes will resume on January 6.
Schedule of Services for Nativity
December 24 - Royal Hours of the Nativity: 1st & 3rd at 8:30am, 6th & 9th at 11am
December 24 - Vespers & Lessons & Carols for the Eve of the Nativity, 6pm
December 25 - The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 9:30am Divine Liturgy
There will be a Christmas buffet following liturgy provided by Mark Stokoe & Steve Brown. You may also bring dishes to share if you wish. We will also need help with clean up.
Serving at St. Vincent DePaul
End the year by giving to those in need! Our parish is serving at St Vincent de Paul on Saturday December 29. If you are interested we all gather at the St Vincent Gateway shelter for women and families on Apple St. in the kitchen at 9:15am and make subs for the guests lunch meal. If you would like to join us please contact Michael Jobst so I know how many will be helping. Thanks again!
Altar Boy/Altar Server Meeting
There will be a meeting for all who serve behind the altar on December 30 at around 11:45am. All altar boys and altar servers should plan to attend. Also, any boys or men who are interested in helping out in this way should also plan to attend. See Victor Weis with questions.
2019 Pledge Campaign Update
Thank you to all who have turned in pledge forms. As of Sunday, December 9, 2018, we have received 66 pledge forms, representing 100 parishioners, that total $211,270. This amount represents approximately 79.6 % of our 2019 budget. All members, please return your completed Pledge Forms to Brian Garber or Kerrie Wiese as soon as you can.
St. Paul Prayer Team
If you would like to submit prayer requests for the prayer team, forms can be found on the greeter’s table. Please place requests in the box on the greeter table or by email to email@example.com. If you would like to be a part of praying with the team - and pray daily for others in the parish, or if you have further questions please contact Mark Pearson.
We are giving our December Charity monies to several local families who are in need at this time. Please do pray for those who struggle to make ends meet, and pray that we as a society will show gracious and generous mercy to help them. Give expecting nothing in return is what the Lord Jesus taught us to do.
This Week’s Schedule:
Monday, December 17
Holy Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misael (600 B.C.).
Readings: Hebrews 8:7-13, Mark 9:42-10:1
8:30am Matins 9am Confession 10am Office Hours
Tuesday, December 18
Martyr Sebastian at Rome and his companions: Martyrs Nicostratus, Zoë, Castorius, Tranquillinus, Marcellinus, Mark, Claudius, Symphorian, Victorinus, Tiburtius, and Castulus (ca. 287).
Readings: Hebrews 9:8-10, 15-23, Mark 10:2-12
4:30pm Confession 5:30pm Vespers 6pm Parish Council Meeting
Wednesday, December 19
Martyr Boniface at Tarsus in Cilicia, and Righteous Aglæ (Aglaída) of Rome (290).
Readings: Hebrews 10:1-18, Mark 10:11-16
8:30am Matins 9am Confession 10am Office Hours
11am Adult Discussion: Adam and the Genome
Thursday, December 20
Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ. Repose of St. John of Kronstadt(1908). Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer, Bishop of Antioch (107).
Readings: Hebrews 10:35-11:7, Mark 10:17-27
Friday, December 21
Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ. Virgin Martyr Juliana of Nicomedia, and with her 50 men and 130 women (304)
Readings: Hebrews 11:8, 11-16, Mark 10:23-32
8:30am Matins 9am Confession 10am Catechism 6:30pm Catechism
Saturday, December 22
Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ. Saturday before the Nativity. Great Martyr Anastasia, “Deliverer from Bonds”, and her teacher, Martyr Chrysogonus, and with them Martyrs Theodota, Evodias, Eutychianus, and others, who suffered under Diocletian (ca. 304).
Readings: Ephesians 5:1-8, Luke 16:10-15
4pm Confession 5pm Vespers
Sunday, December 23
30th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST — Tone 5. Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ. Sunday before the Nativity. Holy Ten Martyrs of Crete: Theodulus, Saturninus, Euporus, Gelasius, Eunician, Zoticus, Pompeius, Agathopus, Basilides, and Evaristus (3rd c.).
Readings: Hebrews 11:9-10, 17-23, 32-40, Matthew 1:1-25
Prosfora: Need volunteer
Altar Servers: D. Abshear, D. Beleny
Greeter(s): D. Federinko, B. Edwards
Epistle: A. McLarnan
Donut Sponsor(s): Topalov
Chapel Vacuum: Alex & Bobby Tyson
Candle care: Alex & Bobby Tyson
Counters: K. Henry, M. Brausch
9:00am Hours: A. McLarnan
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
Children’s Nativity Play
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 4
Upcoming Dates to Remember:
December 24 Royal Hours of the Nativity: 1st & 3rd at 8:30, 6th & 9th at 11am
December 24 Vespers & Lessons & Carols for the Eve of the Nativity, 6pm
December 25 The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 9:30am Divine Liturgy, Christmas buffet following
December 29 Serving at St. Vincent de Paul
December 30 Altar Boy Training Meeting
January 4 Royal Hours of Theophany: 1st & 3rd at 8:30, 6th & 9th at 11am
January 5 Baptism & Chrismations of the Royer Family, 10am
Great Vespers and the Great Blessing of Water, 5pm